Kitec Piping & Plumbing
Kitec was installed in nearly 300,000 North American homes. So far, lawyers for the plaintiffs say 250 total claims have already been filed and 3,300 more are interested.
The Kitec plumbing system consists of blue and orange flexible piping and brass fittings, used to carry cold and hot water through a home. Kitec products were also used in radiant heating systems.
The pipes were made from polyethylene and a thin inner layer of aluminum, and plumbers considered them to be an excellent product because they were cheaper than copper and their flexible nature made the product easy to install.
The class action lawsuits in Canada and the U.S. allege that the product was negligently manufactured, which caused the pipes to disintegrate prematurely.
Canadians have until 2020 to file claims
IPEX, the Canadian company that manufactures Kitec, has not admitted fault in the matter, and had no comment.
According to Kyle Fowler, co-owner of Fowler Plumbing in Windsor, if you built or remodelled your home in the last decade or so, it’s likely Kitec pipes were used.
The pipes were sold from 1995 to 2007, and potential claims have been filed by residents of Alberta, B.C., Ontario, Quebec, and the Maritimes, according to Dave Robins, the lawyer representing Canadians in the class action lawsuit.
Kitec was sold under various brand names, including Kitec, PlumbBetter, IPEX, AQUA, WARMRITE, Kitec XPA, AmbioComfort, XPA, KERR Controls and Plomberie Amelioree.
Tim Tiegs, a faculty co-ordinator for the skilled trades programs at St. Clair College in Windsor, said the only way for homeowners to make sure the allegedly faulty pipes don’t turn into costly water damage claims is to have them replaced.
“Most of what I’ve read and heard is the fact that if you have it, you need to replace it … that it’s gone from whether or not it will fail, to when it will fail,” said Tiegs.
Kitec Radiant Floor Heat is no longer in production, nor is it available for purchase at any stores. However, other companies produce similar parts that can be used to repair a Kitec system.
The alleged construction defect relates to Kitec’s brass fittings, not to the company’s plastic pipe. The issue is a chemical reaction known as dezincification, which accelerates corrosion in brass fittings when they are exposed to oxygen and moisture. Brass is an alloy that is primarily composed of copper and zinc. When fittings experience dezincification, zinc leaches out of the brass fittings, leaving a blockage of zinc oxide that leads to leaks, restricted water flow, and breakage.
How To Find Out If You Have Kitec Plumbing?
First, Kitec® generally comes in two colors: blue (for cold water use) and orange (for hot water use). Coming in from the outside this pipe will typically be attached to your main shutoff valve located close to your hot water heater.
Second, if you have experience with the location and safe use of your electrical panel box, you may find a yellow sticker inside your electrical panel box stating that you home has a nonmetallic Kitec® or PlumbBetter® piping systems. If your home includes this sticker, your home MAY have Kitec® Fittings.
Cited from sources below:
- Brady, Karen. “Money may flow in faulty Kitec plumbing suit” CBC News-Windsor. (Nov 2011). With files from Canadian press
- Brady Karen. “Faulty pipes cause headaches for homeowners” CBC News-Windsor (June 2011).
- Class Councel. “In RE Kitec® Fitting Litigation” Kitec® Class Action informational website.” Case number: A493302